On Thursday, the American Council on Education and 54 other higher education associations signed a letter condemning President Donald J. Trump’s Sept. 22 executive order prohibiting diversity training for all federal contractors and grant recipients, including colleges and universities.
Signatories of the letter include the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Common App, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Phi Beta Kappa Society and others.
The executive order seeks to ban training materials “rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors.”
The letter accuses the president of causing “concern, confusion, and uncertainty for federal contractors and grant recipients across the country” because of the executive order’s “timing, content, and discordant tone.” It also argues that the prohibition goes against Trump’s anti-regulatory stance and curtails campus free speech.
“Higher education, our country’s business and military communities, and other sectors of American society fundamentally agree that promoting and enabling diversity and inclusion are essential to the long-term strength, economic competitiveness, and security of our nation,” the letter reads. “It is also the right thing to do. The recent tragedies of racial violence underscore now, more than ever, the importance of vigorous efforts to address racism and injustice and to promote diversity and inclusion, as Americans strive together to create a more perfect union.”